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BenchMARKS™ provide an easy, wonderful way to reward young people for Content Standards or Benchmark achievements!

What are Content Standards and Benchmarks?
A Content Standard (hereafter called a Standard) is an objective or “What it is you want a child to learn in a specific subject or discipline.”

In current educational reform strategies, each discipline of study has standards. There may be as many as 50 standards for each subject in each grade. Each standard then has 3 to 12 (on occasion even more) Benchmarks, which are literally learning steps to “mastering” that particular standard. See the sample below for an example of standards and benchmarks for Grade 2 Language Arts.

States often use different terminology for standards and benchmarks. Read through your state’s recommendations to determine your particular state’s terms. For a listing of state-by-state standards and benchmarks go online at or

Obviously every step for each benchmark need not be awarded, but a focus can be made on those benchmarks with which your students seem to struggle. Create specific benchmark steps of achievement and post these so your young people know where they are in the progression. Award “BenchMARKS™” for progress and watch learning soar. (Note: it is usually easier to award for benchmarks as the learning progression occurs over a shorter timeframe. Standards often require a longer time for achievement, but may be fully appropriate for awarding. The choice is yours.)